• Dagma Koyi

Wellness Impact Award Finalist 2021: We Need Your Vote!

We are proud to announce that REST Centres has been shortlisted as one of three finalists of the Weight Watchers 2021 “Wellness Impact Award!” We are now counting on the community to vote for REST Centres and help us win the award.

This award is an effort by Weight Watchers to promote wellness development within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) communities. As noted by Weight Watchers, there is a significant shortage of funding directed specifically to BIPOC-serving organizations. Studies have shown that “only 10% of grant dollars [are] going toward helping people of colour” [1]. The Wellness Impact Award, which includes an $18,000 grant and access to Weight Watchers marketing resources, presents an amazing opportunity for REST Centres to further grow our mission: empowering the region’s at-risk and homeless black youth.

Throughout 2020, REST Centres noted an acute need within the community and among the youth we serve. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for food was immense. Across Ontario, food bank usage was on the rise following the pandemic, with reports indicating a “26% increase in visitors between March and June 2020” [2]. This influx of need was especially noted in the black community of Peel Region. People of colour are typically impacted the most by food insecurity, with the rates among racialized households being “3 times [that of] non-racialized households” [3].

Although the majority of REST Centres programs focus on obtaining housing for homeless and at-risk youth, we felt compelled to aid in this food security crisis. We believe in a holistic approach to empowerment, and thus, aim to adapt to our youth’s needs -- whether that be housing, counselling, or food. Therefore, in July 2020, REST Centres launched our newest program: The Bare Necessities. This program delivers food hampers (or food gift cards) to struggling youth around the Peel Region, many of whom are also part of our other programs, such as the Bridge of Hope program. Currently, there are 36 youth enrolled in this program, who each receive bi-weekly grocery cards. This support allows youth to put their income towards other essentials, such as rent, education, or often, childcare. By helping our youth put groceries on the table, they can think about employment, education, and improving their quality of life without worry of where their next meal might come from.

Our Bare Necessities program has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Brandon, a youth who receives a rental subsidy through R.E.S.T., also receives a bi-weekly $50 food card. He explains that these supports “help a lot financially.” Brandon also notes that “people from the [REST Centres] programs are like family to me...they helped me believe in myself.” We want to continue and grow our mission of helping youth believe in their unlimited potential!

Help us by voting for REST Centres for the 2021 Weight Watchers Wellness Impact Award! :




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